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Data Management

Data Citation

The standards for data citation are still being discussed -- but that doesn't mean you can't give credit for using someone else's data, or provide a suggested citation for data you share! Depending on where you share your data, the repository may provide a suggested citation for you -- which is one less step and one more reason for you to share your data in a repository.

While there may be discipline-specific challenges associated with citing published data, you will generally want to provide the same information that you would any other item that requires acknowledgement to the original author. 

Just like any other citation, you'll want to include:

Author or Creator

   The individual, group, or organization that created the data set.


   The name of the data set or the study.

Year of Publication

   When was the data published? When was the data posted online?


   Who is responsible for producing or distributing the data set? Is there a physical location for the data set?

Edition or Version

   If available, is there a version number associated with the data set? Sometimes a repository will have multiple versions of the same data set available for use - make sure you cite which set you used!

Access Information (e.g., a DOI or other persistent identifier)

   The web address where the data is located. Include the DOI or persistent identifier, if it is available.

A few organizations have worked to provide recommended formats. DataCite, an international organization focused on data accessibility and citation, recommends that data citation be formatted as follows:

Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Identifier.

If available, and appropriate, include a Version number and Resource Type:

Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Version. Publisher. ResourceType. Identifier.

NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, and FORCE11, the Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship, continue to work on formalizing Data Citation.

Why cite data?

When a data set plays an integral part in your research, you should cite it! Data sets are another source of information, and just like articles and books, can be cited. Data citation has an important role to play in scholarly communication, including:

  • Facilitates the reuse and verification of data
  • Tracks the impact of data
  • Helps reward and recognize data producers

Example Data Citations

Style Guides:
Cool, H. E. M., & Bell, M. (2011). Excavations at St Peter’s Church, Barton-upon-Humber [Data set]. doi:10.5284/1000389
Cool, H. E. M., and Mark Bell. “Excavations at St Peter’s Church, Barton-upon-Humber.” Archaeology Data Service, 2001. Web. 1 May 2011

Kingsolver JG, Hoekstra HE, Hoekstra JM, Berrigan D, Vignieri SN, Hill CE, Hoang A, Gibert P, Beerli P (2001) Data from: The strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.166
Frederico Girosi; Gary King, 2006, ‘Cause of Death Data’, UNF:3:9JU+SmVyHgwRhAKclQ85Cg== IQSS Dataverse Network [Distributor] V3 [Version]

Examples from Ball, A. & Duke, M. (2012). ‘How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications’. DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online: 
© 2016 University of Massachusetts Amherst.